The Movies Thread!

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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby mm1991 » Dec 14, 2019 3:15 pm

I saw A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood over Thanksgiving weekend. I have a lot of complicated thoughts about it but overall it was great.

I'll start with the things I liked: The framing and perspective of the story is excellent. There was not a single moment I was bored. The characters themselves are great, due to both writing and acting. I'm a huge Mister Rogers fan and there were moments where I forgot it was Tom Hanks playing Mister Rogers - they don't totally look alike but his mannerisms were so accurate and convincing. I enjoyed seeing how Mister Rogers was talented at getting people in touch with their emotions and emphasizing that "feeling your feelings" is okay. I understand how most people find the moral of the film touching.

There was one big thing I didn't like, and I'll immediately admit I'm in the vast minority. I wanted the story to end differently. MAJOR PLOT/ENDING SPOILER: Lloyd ended up forgiving his estranged father for walking out on him, his siblings, and his dying mother when he was a child so his father could get drunk and sleep around. Forgiveness itself I of course don't have a problem with but I don't like how everything in the film was done. Earlier in the film, Lloyd's wife invites the father into their home to entertain him (with a newborn baby in the home!), despite knowing Lloyd would take this as a betrayal. Yet Lloyd is portrayed as being overdramatic and temperamental for being frustrated after coming home from work and seeing his father there. He seems to be constantly questioned for being mad at his father and keeping him out of his life (including Mister Rogers), despite his father wanting reconciliation. And through his interaction with Mister Rogers, eventually forgives his father and invites him into his life with his little family. I accept the idea and practicalities of forgiveness, but I don't believe you have to keep interacting with the people in your life that need forgiving. Sometimes transgressions are so great, it's better for all involved to stay apart. You can still do forgiveness work in many ways without face-to-face interaction. Especially when it comes to things like childhood traumas due to the direct actions of adults. You can forgive a person, you can recognize that they are imperfect people and dealing with their own demons and are victims in their own right, you can decide to let go of the resentment and the anger, you can reframe your life.....all without interaction. Sometimes that's the better way in certain situations. This would be one of those situations. Because forgiveness should ALWAYS be on the terms of the victim and NOT the transgressor. Forgiveness should NOT be achieved by betrayal and sneakiness from the ones who are suppose to love, protect, and care for you. It should be done through emotional work and respect.

All that being said, this is based on a true story, so it's not like the film could really change anything. I just don't like how they seem to encourage and normalize inviting people who hurt you back into your life if they haven't really made proper amends. I guess I'm the only person who thinks that though.


I also tried watching Yesterday, but I'm not a Beatles fan and found it a bore, so I snuck off to the bedroom to play video games instead. :p
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby fantasia » Dec 19, 2019 8:36 am

Catching up on Christmas movies this month!

First up was Benedict Cumberbatch's Grinch movie. That one was really sweet and the kids and I liked it a lot.
Second was The Man Who Invented Christmas, which is a look at how Charles Dickens came up with the story of The Christmas Carol. The movie started off strong, I liked the first half a lot! but then it kind of came unraveled towards the end imho. One of the big themes of The Christmas Carol is repentance from evil, and as the movie really focused on Dickens's own demons, there was never so much of an apology from him in mending his broken relationships. It could have been so powerful at the end. But my biggest gripe was actually the title of the film itself because Dickens did not "invent" Christmas. :P
Last was Klaus, which we watched last night. I liked it a lot :) Thumbs up on the animation AJAiken, it was a very pretty movie. It was also quite funny. I liked how the various legends of Santa came into being. However, I did not care for the standard twist of the main character storyline, it's quite overdone. But definitely worth watching.
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby Col Klink » Dec 19, 2019 7:04 pm

Well, to be fair, The Man Who Invented Christmas couldn't really have shown Dickens overcoming his faults more than it did without getting really historically inaccurate. The ending arguably paints a too rosy view of him as it is. Actually, I was kind of impressed by how dark the movie did get in its portrayal of Dickens. Not that I demand all my movies to be dark. But the movie was advertised as being rather fluffy. BTW, I think the book which gave the movie its title actually says in one sentence that Dickens didn't really invent Christmas. But apparently they wanted to use that dumb title anyway. :p

I wasn't initially interested in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood but it actually sounds intriguing. I'd like to catch it but I'm not sure when I can. I usually go to the cinema with my mother and she wants to see Little Women. I'd like to see it sometime but I'm not in a hurry at all. Still, I kind of feel like I should since my mom really wants to go but she's probably not going to go by herself. 8-|
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby daughter of the King » Dec 20, 2019 2:21 pm

Recently saw Frozen II. I actually liked it more than the first one (admittedly, that might be because I haven't yet experienced my niece insisting on watching it every single day for six months :p ). I thought the soundtrack was more cohesive, and I loved the various fairy tale elements that were woven throughout the plot. I also like that none of the songs are super catchy. I like Let it Go, but I definitely got over-exposed to it.

Saw The Rise of Skywalker last night. There was a fan event before the showing I went to (tickets for the event sold out probably within ten seconds), but R2-D2 and BB8 were still there, which was fun. I liked the movie. There are definitely parts I didn't like *coughkylorencough*, but it was a good end to the series. I can sort of see where Carrie Fisher would have fit into various parts of it if she hadn't died, and how they re-wrote it. I assume the scene with Han Solo was originally written for her, which might have worked better. I was very excited to hear the various Jedi at the end, especially Ahsoka.

Going to see Little Women with Mom probably some time next week. I'm arguing for Christmas day since we're celebrating with the family on Christmas Eve, but I don't think she's going to agree to that. ;)) Also, she might not have finished reading the book by then. She read it years ago, but doesn't remember most of what happened.
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby SnowAngel » Dec 21, 2019 6:42 pm

One of my younger sisters and I have been a bit of 1930s film kick lately, we have watched Miss Pinkerton (1932), High Pressure (1932), The Famous Ferguson Case (1931), Night Nurse (1931), The Crowd Roars (1932), and The Casino Murder Case (1935). My favorite was The Casino Murder Case, Paul Lukas as Philo Vance and Rosalind Russell as a secretary for a wealthy family.

Picked up Angel Has Fallen from the library today, a little surprised it came in before Christmas. Planning to watch it with the above mentioned sister tonight or tomorrow.

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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby AJAiken » Jan 08, 2020 7:24 am

fantasia wrote:Last was Klaus, which we watched last night. I liked it a lot :) Thumbs up on the animation AJAiken, it was a very pretty movie. It was also quite funny. I liked how the various legends of Santa came into being. However, I did not care for the standard twist of the main character storyline, it's quite overdone. But definitely worth watching.


Thank you, FK! (And stargazer, too!) :) I know what you mean about the twist, the first shot I was given to work on was towards the end of the movie, a cute moment between Jesper and Margu, and when I saw it I immediately thought 'Oh, this is a Doc Hollywood movie.' One of my friends tried her best to stay spoiler-free throughout the production, but it was immediately blown for me. ;))

Rise of Skywalker. I'm still not sure how I feel about this film. As I think I've said before I loved and hated The Last Jedi, and I think, overall, that RoS was better. The best thing about the entire trilogy, in my opinion, is the connection between Rey and Kylo/Ben. Looking at nothing else in the films, I love the trilogy. I liked the kiss! From what I've heard it seems like a lot of others weren't expecting that at all, but in my mind that's where it was going. So, I can't really judge it on what others thought because, for me, it made perfect sense. My favourite thing is the redemption arc of Kylo/Ben. There was a lot of mirroring: Ben meeting Han again (for which I don't mind if it was supposed to be Leia; the repetition of the bridge moment from The Force Awakens worked well), facing down the Emperor similar to Episode VI, Force healing - which I thought was kind of dumb on that snake thing but when used between Ben and Rey is a really striking callback to Anakin's initial reason to turn to the Dark Side. So, for the most part I enjoyed the central story. The rest of it, though - nobody else's story seemed to have any purpose or meaning. There was more meaning to the subplots in TLJ, even though I really disliked how they came across. So it feels like through this trilogy that what started off with everyone on a fairly equal footing ended up degenerating into a focus on Rey and Ben (which I did like), but at the expense of, or at least without the consideration of, other characters. So ... it was okay?
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby Lady Arwen » Feb 12, 2020 9:24 pm

I've now seen Frozen II four times (once because my friend made me, once taking my niece, once taking my other niece, and then again with my dad, because he felt left out). Suffice to say, I'm at least okay with it. ;)) Some of the landscapes were hyper realistic, to the point that I caught myself wondering "if they filmed this at ______" before reminding myself of the animated quality. I did want to post about it, though, because I loved the Narnia nods, even if they were inadvertent, especially when the dam breaks and the water rushes through, with the water-horse coming down the tsunami waves, although with the element spirits the entire piece has a very free-Narnia sort of feel, which made me happy.
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Re: The Movies Thread!

Postby Col Klink » Feb 17, 2020 4:40 pm

I'm surprised to find myself writing a long post about the recent Little Women movie because I'm a casual fan of the book at best. (My grandmother is a much bigger fan so I'm sort of attached to the story because of her though I've never read the whole thing through.) But I did want to write some about it and I find I can't do it without comparing it to the independent movie that set the story in modern day which came out the year before. Both were released roughly around the book's anniversary. Both tell the story in a nonlinear way, intercutting the second half, in which the characters are adults, with flashbacks of the first half, in which they're teens. (Not being a huge fan of the book, I'm tempted to say they did because the "adult" half isn't as good as the "teen" half and they were worried people would get bored halfway through if they told the story chronologically. ;) ) Both of them put more emphasis on Jo's being an author, ending with her writing a book, which is all but said to be Little Women, and it getting published.
Both of them also portray Jo as being somewhat upset about Amy and Laurie's romance, the 2019 movie much more so. (In the book, she was happy that this got Laurie out of her hair.) If I were a bigger fan of the book, I'd be a bit annoyed by this change. Being a casual fan, I think it works to show Jo's character development. (She's now much better at controlling her emotions for the sake others than she was in her youth.)


Without having done a marathon of Little Women movies, I can say that the 2019 movie has probably the best script of all the ones I remember. But it doesn't have the best cast, especially not the best cast for the "little women" themselves. Saoirse Ronan is a fine actress but she really doesn't strike me as the Jo type. Florence Pugh is great as the adult Amy but when she has to play a kid, it's really obvious that she's not a kid and the character comes across like she has a mental disability. ;)) Eliza Scanlen makes very little impression. I know her character is supposed to be quiet and retiring but I've seen other actresses play this character and characters like her to much more memorable effect. The only heroine whom I thought was really cast well was Emma Watson's Meg.

Like I said though, the script was really good. The only major thing that I can't make up my mind if liked is the ending.
From what I've read Louisa May Alcott originally envisioned the character of Jo, like herself, living out life as a literary spinster but was forced to give her a romantic relationship to keep her book marketable. This movie wanted to pay tribute to Alcott's original vision but it didn't want to totally cut Jo's romance with Prof. Bhaer. The whole Jo-writes-a-book-at-the-end-which-is-obviously-Little-Women thing and the nonlinear storytelling allowed them to make a compromise. We see Jo and the professor end up together but it's implied that this the marketable ending Jo writes for her book. As someone who can sympathize with both Alcott, for not wanting to include romance just to make a story marketable, and fans, who don't want a completely revisionist ending, I appreciate what the movie was going for.

But here's the thing. Jo may have been a lot like her author but she wasn't her author. When Louisa May Alcott had to get Jo married, she included setup to make it clear that Jo wanted to get married. And the movie doesn't cut any of that setup. If anything, it makes it more dramatic. So we're not sure that Jo is happy at the end. Not that I have a problem with ambiguous endings per se. But everything up till this point of the movie has been pretty unambiguous. While the flashbacks are somewhat color saturated, implying they're touched with nostalgia, there's nothing to indicate the events in them have been inaccurate. The movie's spent all this time getting us invested in the characters and their lives. Now it abruptly tells us that their lives are a combination of wish fulfillment and commercial calculation. It's jarring and I'm not sure how we're expected to react.

It's a credit to the script that, given all that, I don't wish they hadn't used this device. It definitely makes the climax more creative and interesting. It's fun the way the movie pauses itself to internally debate sending the right message vs pleasing a big part of the target audience. I really wish I could say I liked this ending instead of just appreciating it or understanding it.


Something that I admire about the 2019 movie though, and which I think fans of the book will appreciate even more, is that it tries to give an equal focus to all the sisters. In the "adult" half of most adaptations I remember, Meg, Beth and Amy fade into the background and the story becomes pretty much the Jo Show. While Jo is definitely the main character of the 2019 movie, you can tell the director/writer didn't want to lose focus on the other characters.

The same can't be said of the 2018 movie. But what I can say of it, is that all four of the main actresses are really well cast. I think Sarah Davenport is the best Jo I've seen. (Yeah, she's too pretty but that's true of all the actresses who've played the part.) This adaptation may be set in the wrong time period, but I think it captures the most popular character's personality perfectly: blustery, brusque, fun to be around, bit of a temper, no nonsense. And remember what I said about other actresses making the character more memorable than she is in the 2019 movie? Well, Allie Jennings is a great example of one of those actresses.
While both movies do a great job making Beth's death sad, this one does it the best.


As a homeschooler myself, I appreciated this movie's sympathetic and uncondescending portrayal of it. In fact, it's kind of a pro-homeschool fantasy. The only characters outside the home are only portrayed positively if, like the Laurences, they're willing to adapt themselves to the Marches rather than getting the Marches to adapt to the outside world, like the Moffats. (Before you dismiss this movie as a piece of homeschooling propaganda, let me assure you it isn't. It's just being true to the source material.) This is true of the 2019 movie too but there the filmmakers feel the need to apologize for it by placing it in a historical context.

Now that's not to say I liked everything about the 2018 movie. The screenwriters wanted to reference the same books that the book referenced, The Pilgrim's Progress and The Pickwick Papers. But they apparently couldn't be bothered to read either of those books themselves. I can sympathize with that since I'm not much of a fan of either (though I'm a big Dickens fan in general.) But I couldn't help cringing at the mistakes they made. They confused Apollyon, a bad guy from Pilgrim's Progress, with another character who was a good guy. And they portrayed the members of the Pickwick Club as army guys when they were supposed to be more like sociologists. :)) Seriously! A glance at Wikipedia would have cleared up these misconceptions.

Anyway, Prof. Bhaer's characterization is pretty different in both movies from how he is in the book. So if you're a big fan of him from there, neither of these adaptations is going to be your favorite. As a neutral party, I'd say I prefer him in the 2018 movie which gives him more dialogue with Jo. In the 2019 movie, the only really long dialogue scene they have by themselves turns into an argument about him criticizing her writing. In the book, from what I remember, he disapproves of its sensational violence. This idea is implied in the movie too but it's not explained very well. I can definitely understand that since for a Hollywood movie to criticize sensationalism and violence would be the height of hypocrisy but it makes the ensuing argument kind of vague and hard to get invested in.

So, while it didn't get any Oscar nods and you've probably never heard of it, I consider the 2018 Little Women movie to be the better movie of the two and, in that sense, the better adaptation. Both movies are super cute though and if they're the kind of thing you enjoy, I recommend the both of them to you.
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